Editorial, Issue 3 – Volume CX – Parker Students With COVID-19 Need Resources

Parker Students With COVID-19 Need Resources

In order to foster a well-balanced community, communication is key. In the past two years, remote learning made it more difficult to address confusion or lack of clarity in assignments.  Parker has since returned to in-person learning and in that regard, communication between students and teachers is much more feasible. Despite this, the virus still exists, and several Parker students have been exposed and required to quarantine this year. Parker faculty needs to put a system in place to make sure these students remain informed on class efforts. 

For an Upper School student, missing school for even a few days is a detriment to the learning experience. They might not have the necessary resources to complete their work effectively, or truly comprehend the material. Therefore, students who miss school often fall behind, affecting their overall grade and their future academic success. 

When Parker Upper Schoolers tested positive for COVID-19 this fall, they were required to quarantine at home for 10 days. During this time, it was up to the student to contact their teachers, keep up with their work, and return to school smoothly. However, there was no process put in place to ensure they could stay caught up. In fact, it was up to the students to check the Portal for work to do at home, just the same as all students do each night, even though they hadn’t been in class each day.

Last year, regardless of if a student was sick or not, the Parker Upper School was regularly Zooming into classes. Some students learned remotely for the duration of the year, even when their classmates were in the school. So, why can’t students do the same this year, when they are stuck sick at home with no option to go? Without the option to Zoom into classes, anyone who gets sick becomes isolated from class. At a school focused on community values, we should have better guidelines in place so that students aren’t worrying about their academic success while trying to recover and keep their peers and teachers safe. Positive students may be discouraged from putting health and safety first and taking extra time off if needed because they are without clear resources or support during their quarantine.

Although we have returned to a completely in-person learning format, COVID-19 is still affecting Parker. The Parker community has to expect the occasional outbreak among students. In that respect, faculty and administration has to be prepared to provide those students with the necessary resources and information. The delta variant is still ongoing, and there is always the threat of another mutation. The Parker community has to be prepared for situations like this by providing for students at home now. 

Parker has already effectively managed the community virtually. For the most part, students and faculty are familiar with Zoom and accessing information remotely. There is no reason why those platforms can’t be incorporated into the current curriculum. Some teachers have even been using Zoom to teach lessons while they’re absent from the classroom. There doesn’t seem to be a reason why this process cant work the other way around. This same way of teaching online should be implemented for students who test positive and must remain home, to learn online.

In addition, many teachers are inconsistent with posting homework to the portal and students in person have already expressed confusion about future assignments. Students who don’t have the option to attend class are at a disadvantage if they can’t hear first hand about assignment details and instructions. Being able to log in online would give them the ability to at least attempt to hear the information virtually that might not be typed into the small assignment boxes on the portal. 

For students to learn, teachers must have a way to communicate new class information — whether students are in person or absent. Often, students will reach out to classmates to catch up on daily lessons. Other students don’t serve as an effective resource to obtain information. There is always the possibility of error and irregularity in the way a student conveys such information. This is the job of a teacher. With this being said, teachers can’t be expected to handle this situation on a case-by-case basis. Parker needs a clear system to deal with this in the future.